Over the course of his career, Ian Rankin has amassed an incredible portfolio of short stories, and his latest, a novella published as part of the Death Sentences line of books – the mission statement of which is to present short stories about deadly books from the world’s best crime writers – is a stellar, and has certainly whetted my appetite for the new Rebus novel, Rather Be The Devil, which will be published in the coming weeks.
Ronald Hastie is a recent college graduate who is obsessed with the works of his literary hero, Robert Louis Stevenson, with a particular fondness for The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Ronald’s in Paris for the summer of 1982, working part-time at the legendary Shakespeare and Company bookshop. He’s enjoying his vacation from Edinburgh, free from the ties that bind, able to explore the great city his literary hero once visited.
And then the chance of a lifetime drops into young Ronald’s lap.
A collector claims to have the original manuscripts of both Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and the never-published The Travelling Companion, both of which were thought to have been destroyed. And he’s happy to share. Ronald jumps at the opportunity to read these, and along the way, meets the collector’s mysterious assistant, a young woman, whose presence, alongside those manuscript pages, stirs an uncanny recklessness, and a dangerous obsession, within him. It’s almost as though Ronald is becoming a different person… like he’s being transformed.
Rankin’s The Travelling Companion is short, but very sweet. It’s a love-letter to one of Stevenson’s seminal works, and has inspired me to re-read the classic. It’s a masterfully compelling novella. You’ll breeze through it and enjoy every word. Now, bring on Rather be the Devil.
Format: Hardback (180mm x 110mm x mm)
Imprint: Head of Zeus
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Publish Date: 7-Jul-2016
Country of Publication: United Kingdom